Captain Zaharie Shah

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Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah

Captain Zaharie Shah was the Pilot-In-Command on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which went missing on Saturday, 8 March 2014.

This article provides a summary profile of Captain Shah and links to related articles such as an overview of his Flight Simulator.


Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was aged 53 when he was assigned to be the Pilot-in-Command of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370. He had been with Malaysia Airlines since 1981 when he was a Cadet Pilot. At the beginning he was trained for two years in the Philippines and after he graduated with a Commercial Pilot Licence he joined MAS in 1983 as a Second Officer on the Fokker F27.

Zaharie flew on Boeing 737-200; Airbus A300 B4; Fokker F50; Boeing 737-400; Airbus A330-300; and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft for Malaysia Airlines.

In 2007, Zaharie was made a Type Rating Instructor (TRI) and Type Rating Examiner (TRE) for the Boeing 777-200ER.

Captain Shah was very experienced, with a total of 18423 flying hours including 8659 on the Boeing 777-200

On Saturday, 8 March 2014 Captain Shah had two roles on flight MH370 - he was the Pilot-in-Command, and he was also performing the role of Type Rating Instructor for the First Officer.

Zaharie's enthusiasm for flying was evident in his hobbies too. He was injured in a paragliding incident in 2007. He had radio-controlled model aircraft and built a flight simulator with which he combined his interests in flying, electronics and computers.

Zaharie had a fairly broad on-line footprint with a personal YouTube channel, Facebook page, and involvement in the simulator community.

He was politically active, opposed to corruption in Malaysia, and did not like toll roads.

Zaharie was married with three children.

Zaharie Shah

Zaharie Shah with flight simulator in background

This image is a screen capture from a video that Zaharie posted to YouTube on 10 January 2013. Zaharie is speaking about tuning an air conditioner and part of his flight simulator is in the background.

The video is part 1 of how to tune aircon to save electricity.

Zaharie Shah's radio-controlled model of a PBY Catalina

Zaharie Shah's radio-controlled model of a PBY Catalina
Source: Zaharie Shah Facebook album Catalina pby.


Flight Simulator
During 2013 Zaharie upgraded his computer and started a project to include motion in his flight simulator. He made various posts on Facebook which have been combined with other sources to produce a detailed description of his Flight Simulator.
Zaharie made five videos which he uploaded to YouTube. His account name - catalinapby1 - refers to an aircraft, the PBY Catalina, which he admired. He had a radio-controlled model of a PBY Catalina.
Zaharie's YouTube videos are linked here.
His subscriptions and interests on YouTube can be seen here.
Zaharie's interests and values are very clear from postings on his Facebook Page
Profile in the Safety Investigation Report
An extract from the Safety Investigation Report is linked here: 1.5.3 Pilot-in-Command
Career Summary
A Career Summary adapted from the official profile in the Safety Investigation Report.

Related Articles

Further Reading

Read the Translated Facebook Posts of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s Pilot - What Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s Facebook page tells us about his politics and interests. by Dana Liebelson